President Obama is at war with reality. This is the central problem of his presidency.
The arrest of suspected Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad is being celebrated in the liberal establishment media as a triumph for the Obama administration. A terrorist atrocity was averted; Mr. Shahzad was captured before his plane could take off for Dubai.
Yet the media's narrative overlooks one seminal fact: We got lucky. The only reason Mr. Shahzad's car bomb did not blow up in the heart of midtown Manhattan during a bustling Saturday evening was incompetence. His detonator failed to work properly. Otherwise, everything was in place - the Pathfinder parked in a strategic location, gas cans, propane tanks and fertilizer - for a deadly jihadist attack aimed at inflicting maximum casualties.
This is unacceptable. The attempted bombing reveals once again Mr. Obama's inability to protect America from Islamist terrorism. Under his watch, terrorist attacks and attempted attacks on U.S. soil have increased.
Muslim extremists have targeted synagogues in New York and federal buildings in Dallas. In September, a plot to bomb New York City's subway was disrupted. In November, the Fort Hood massacre resulted in the murder of 13 service members. On Christmas Eve, the so-called underwear bomber came within a whisker of blowing up a United Airlines flight approaching Detroit. Every single one of these acts - aborted or not - is a damning repudiation of Mr. Obama's policy of appeasement. Rather than ushering in a new era of peace and coexistence, multicultural detente is emboldening the forces of global jihad. The Shahzads of the world rightly sense American weakness.
The heart of the Obama doctrine is the illusion that there is no war on terror. According to Mr. Obama and the liberal elite, Islamic fascism is a figment of George W. Bush's fevered imagination - a wild scheme concocted by militaristic neoconservatives to justify invading Iraq and imposing an American empire in the Middle East.
Hence, Mr. Obama has sought to repeal much of Mr. Bush's legacy. U.S. troops are to begin pulling out of Afghanistan next summer. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is being abandoned. Israel is undermined. Democracy and human rights are no longer promoted in the Arab world. Washington seeks a rapprochement with Iran and Syria. Guantanamo is to be closed. Terrorists are to be tried in civilian court. Mr. Obama apologizes for U.S. "injustices" in the Middle East. Terms such as "Muslim," "Islam" or "Islamic extremism" are censored from national security documents.
In short, the president is conveying that America no longer views radical Islam as the enemy. Mr. Obama desperately wants everyone to get along. The Islamists, however, don't. They remain impervious to his calls for hope and change.
In fact, they are expressing increasing contempt for him - and America. Like all postmodern leftists, Mr. Obama refuses to accept the fundamental truth of human nature: the enduring existence of evil. Not everybody wants to get along; some peoples, cultures and ideologies are irredeemably wicked, bent on imperial expansion and genocide. Their lust for power and domination cannot be quenched. History is full of them - the Huns, the Aztecs, the Mongols, the Ottoman Turks, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, Soviet Russia, communist China. Eventually, the only solution is to crush them. Appeasement only invites aggression.
The Times Square bomber demonstrates the parochial narcissism of contemporary liberalism. Mr. Shahzad should have been a classic convert to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's utopian dream of a world based on consumerism and globalization. He was a Pakistani immigrant who became a U.S. citizen. The country he betrayed and loathed gave him immigration visas, a university education, a job at a prestigious marketing firm, a home in suburban Connecticut - the American dream.
Instead of being grateful, he became part of the global jihad in his native Pakistan. He preferred the Taliban training camps in Peshawar to McDonald's and Blockbuster. The sword and the crescent were too alluring for him.
Since the seventh century, radical Islam has been at war with the West. It purged the Arabian Peninsula of most Christians and Jews. During the Middle Ages, it conquered large swaths of Europe - from Spain and parts of France to Sicily and the Balkans. Today's Islamists seek to restore a medieval global caliphate. Their aims are not rational or limited, but totalitarian and universal.
There is something strangely perverse about a worldview that believes a greater threat comes from old ladies at Tea Party rallies holding anti-Obama signs than jihadist mass murderers. Mr. Obama refuses to denounce Mr. Shahzad - or anyone - as an Islamic terrorist. The most he could muster was that the Pakistani-American's capture was "another sobering reminder of the times in which we live." His statements were not exactly Churchillian.
But when it comes to excoriating the Tea Party movement, Mr. Obama is more than willing to pound the pulpit and sound the clarion calls to battle. He has called them "tea baggers" - a vicious slur. He hints that they are closet racists, who may repeat the violence of Timothy McVeigh. His Democratic media allies smear them as white supremacists and "domestic extremists." New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg even said before Mr. Shahzad's arrest that maybe the culprit wasan opponent of Obamacare. This is from the mayor of a city that lost 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001.
The desire to equate Tea Partiers - peaceful, law-abiding activists who have never committed any heinous crimes, never mind bombings or beheadings - with murderous fanatics is not simply delusional. It reflects an ideological psychosis, a death instinct that refuses to face up to the gathering threat of Islamic fascism.
Next time, we may not be so lucky. And Mr. Obama's dogmatic denial of a war on terror will mean nothing when American blood is spilled on our streets.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the daily host of "The Kuhner Show" on WTNT 570-AM (www.talk570.com) from noon until 3 p.m.